Blood Thirsty

You’ve heard that joke, right? Why are academics so blood thirsty? Because the stakes are so small…

Today, I find myself confronted by questions of why I do what I do. This has nothing, or at least little, to do with photography, but rather is about academia. There’s gotta be a better way to earn a living (but damn, I love the scheduling).

Academics, strangely enough, seem to think highly of themselves, but the real behavior behind the scenes is much more primitive and mammalian. There is frequently talk of creating open environments where all ideas are treated equally. Truth be told, there is much manipulation and mistrust, as everyone is looking for more control and strength. Egos have more power than ideology.  Make no mistake, academia is about enrollment numbers and dollars, nothing of more substance.

In Sun in the Blood of the Cat, the book of essays by Bill Jay, he reflects on his life as educator. In one essay in particular, “Pointing a Finger at the Moon,” he surmises his career by something to the effect, “I love teaching but hate education.” That seems pretty concise.

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3 thoughts on “Blood Thirsty

  1. It’s strange for me to read your reflections on academia. When you began teaching at Alfred, you were the same age as I am now. Fresh out of grad school, you scorned everything, gossiped with students, and were generally surly and unpredictable. I liked you because of that. You weren’t removed, sedated with age, or pretentious in the way only professors at a small, somewhat critically lauded fine arts college can be. I’m now that flippant faculty member rolling my eyes behind supposed colleagues’ backs, wondering how they’ve managed to continually dupe students into believing the lies they’ve told over the years. If arts education has a motto, it’s ‘don’t look behind the curtain.’ In short, Brian, you’re a great teacher. The best I had, at least. I’m still trying to figure out if this institutionalized, stagnant system of education is the right ‘career’ for me. Questioning seems like a good start, I think.

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